Charlton’s Peacemaker

Peacemaker cover

Comics fans tend to divide the market into two monolithic superpowers – DC and Marvel – especially when talking about the Silver Age of the 1960s. However there was a  smaller third contender known as Charlton Comics that would weekly duke it out with the Big Two for space on those spinning comic racks. Charlton started out doing television and movie tie-in books but for a short time they had an Action Hero line that gave the big boys a run for their money.

…and the title Action Heroes was a deliberate move to distance the Charlton books from the rest of the market. Editor Dick Giordano had always favored the Batman-model for heroes – regular human beings righting wrongs and facing danger armed with just  hard work and imagination rather through the benefit of superhuman origins or equipment. During Giordano’s tenure  all the Charlton super-powered heroes were either changed into non-super versions (like Ted Kord’s Blue Beetle) or substantially reduced in power as was the case with Captain Atom.

DC bought out Charlton in the Eighties, so you can still find versions of Blue Beetle and The Question in print, but some of their comrades weren’t  so lucky as was the case with The Peacemaker. Billed as “The man who loved peace so much he was willing to fight for it” Peacemaker always struggled to find a home in DC and was finally  written out in a recent reboot event. His methods of operation didn’t translate well into contemporary books, but I also think he suffered aesthetically ; there was a logical explanation for his outsized helmet (it housed long range communications and sensor equipment) but I imagine his foes weren’t able to look for long at that particular piece of headgear without starting to snicker…and I personally  wonder about the effect a good stiff crosswind would have on that thing.

It’s  also hard to draw. I’ve tried my usual update-magic on Peacemaker’s entire outfit, but that helmet is proving to be troublesome….

Peacemaker sketch

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